6 Reasons Why You Should Make Art

You need to make art.

Yes, I’m talking to you. I’m talking to the artists and the non-artists. I’m talking to the dreamers, the I-wish-I-could-do-thats, the self proclaimed lackers of creativity, and even the seasoned professionals who are losing touch with their craft.

We all need to make art. I’m not saying you need to make it into a career. You don’t even need to share it with anyone around you, but you should most definitely make art. And here’s why:

1. Art connects you with others.

Art is a universal language. We are not all poets and wordsmiths, but art can give us a voice when our mouths fail to articulate our thoughts and emotions. Art is for everyone and we can all understand it.

When you view art by an artist who doesn’t speak your native language, there are no barriers between you and the art. You do not need to know how to speak Italian to understand the emotions portrayed in Bernini’s sculptures. You don’t even have to exist in the same time period.

Art can break down barriers between different groups of people and allow us to speak a common language. If you are feeling disconnected, make art. If you want to make a positive impact on the world, make art. What you create sends a message to the world.

What do you have to say?

2. Art soothes the mind.

We are spread very thin in this modern world. Our attention spans are short and are constantly being pulled in different directions. We have deadlines, bills, families, friends, and so many more things to think about. We need to take more time to just rest. Art can help.

Have you heard people talking about the importance of ‘mindfulness’ or being present in the moment? Art is a perfect way to practice mindfulness and soothe your worried and tired mind.

When you create, you can more easily enter a flow state. It’s that magical state where time doesn’t exist and you are fully immersed in your activity. Taking the time to create art is like taking time to meditate–but I’d argue it’s more fun. Create art for the sake of self-care.

3. Art heals.

Not only can creating art help soothe your mind in present moments, but it can help heal your mind from past trauma and hardship. Art therapy is a real thing. Through the practice of art, with or without a trained professional, you can embrace self-expression and explore your identity and emotions through your work.

I am not a trained art therapist, but read this article for more information on the uses and benefits of art therapy.

Make art for the sake of your emotional well being. It’s cheaper than therapy.

4. Making art is fun!

This one is a little obvious. You should make art right now, because it can be an enjoyable experience for everyone involved. It can be fun for the creator, but it is also enjoyable for the viewer. Art is enjoyable at every age and at every stage in life. It’s never too early or too late to begin making art. You can make it a group activity, playtime with your kids, or just a way to enjoy an evening alone at home.

Enjoy your time and make something!

5. Art Gives you Freedom

You don’t need to be skilled. You don’t need to have a message. You don’t need to do what everyone else does. You don’t need to follow any rules.

When you allow yourself to create art, you can have complete freedom. Make up new words like Lewis Carroll and JK Rowling (mimsy muggle!). Encrust a skull with diamonds like Damien Hirst. Swing cans of paint through the air over your canvas like Callen Schaub. Do whatever you feel like doing.

Art gives you the ability to experiment and explore. Art is playtime. Let yourself be free.

6. Art comes in many forms.

You’re probably already making art right now in ways you didn’t realize. You don’t have to practice traditional methods of ‘art’. You don’t need a canvas or a paint brush.

You can use knives in a kitchen and paint with the colors of the produce around you. You can plate your meals using your imagination. Your mashed potatoes can become a work of art! (I love cooking shows a little too much…)

You can stage photographs of the things around you that provide inspiration and build an Instagram account dedicated to inspiring others. You can mix different patterned clothes when you get dressed in the morning and create a collage on your body. You can dance. You can garden and choose your favorite colored flowers for a vase on your table. You can practice calligraphy and hand write letters to friends. You can sing in the car and tap your fingers on the steering wheel. You can make up new stories to tell your kids each night before bed.

Art isn’t just a picture on a wall. Art doesn’t have limits. It’s easy to make art in simple ways every day of your life. Art fills your life with novelty, beauty, and joy. Practice any form you can and do it often.

You need it. I need it. The world needs it.

Now go make art and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #messyeverafter

***

Please leave questions and comments below while commenting is open or reach out to me directly through Instagram or email. I’d love to hear from you! Make sure to sign up for my email list below to never miss a blog post. New posts are published every Tuesday (…sometimes Wednesday). And if you’d like to see more content like this in the future, consider becoming a Patron of mine! (See details below.)

-Kelly

Do want to help me create more blog content? I want to keep providing content like this for free, but I need your help. If you enjoy my blog posts and gain any inspiration from the content I put out there, please consider becoming a Patron of Messy Ever After on Patreon. Pledging just $1 a month enables me to keep helping artists like you. Plus, you get extra little perks!

Further Reading:

How I Stay Organized as a Professional Artist

This is going to sound really dorky, but I used to get REALLY excited about the first week of classes in college, because my favorite part of the whole academic process was plotting out all of the assignments, midterms, and finals in my new yearly planner.

Once a professor handed me a syllabus with the class schedule, I had pens and highlighters uncapped and ready to transfer important dates to my planner. I don’t want to say this is why I was successful in school–but it definitely helped. It’s been 6 years since I graduated college and I’m still buying the same brand of planner and highlighters for my business.

Staying organized is really important as a business owner. I have multiple tax deadlines to remember, event dates, commissions, social media posts, a blog schedule, blocks of time to work on art and record videos, and more. As an artist, I find that a visual form of organization really helps me stay on track.

In the spirit of ‘back to school’ excitement, I’m going to share with you all of my ways for keeping organized as a student, an artist, and a business owner.

1. Get a Planner

Or make one. I don’t care if you use printed sheets of paper, a bullet journal, hand drawn weekly task sheets, Google Calendar, or desk top calendar. Have a way to be able to look at your tasks and keep track important dates. You don’t have to keep things in one place, but try to create a system that works for you. Just don’t keep things in your head. Yes, some people are really great at mentally tracking their life, but you can accomplish more when you write it down.

Every year, I buy a new Blue Sky yearly planner. I usually get a new planner in December, but since it’s back to school time, these mid year planners are a great deal. I prefer the larger planner as I tend to write a lot of things down.

(*This is an affiliate link. I will earn a commission if you make a purchase. These commissions help fund the creation of more content like this at no additional cost to you. So thank you for supporting this site! P.S. Buy all the things 😉 )

I have four ways I look at my tasks for each year.

  • Yearly– I have a printed single sheet of paper with all of the months of the year. I use this to block off important dates like tax payments, events, and art shows. There is a page in the planner that shows the year at a glance, but there wasn’t enough room for me to write notes–so I printed one.
  • Monthly- On each month page of my planner, I keep track of my schedule for social media posts, blog posts, appointments, short term deadlines, and reminders for long term deadlines.
  • Weekly/Daily- Then for each week, I break everything down into small tasks and spread them out over the week.

Basically, start with your goals for the year, and work your way down to the daily tasks you need to reach those goals. The work you do each day is most important.

2. Take notes and write down all ideas

I’m a night time thinker, which means I usually remember to do something around 11:30pm when I’m trying to fall asleep. Every night, I put my phone on “do not disturb” on my night stand, but keep it available to capture any random thoughts using Google Keep or OneNote for the morning.

You’re going to forget things. Just write it down. Either digitally or manually, capture those quick thoughts and leave them for when you have time to review them and add them to your planner.

3. Set Reminders

Are you forgetful? I can be. Last night, I put a note into Google Keep with all of the tasks I wanted to remember for this morning and then I set a reminder for it to pop up at 8am today.

I love digital tools like Google Keep and Google Calendar. I set reminders on all of my events and task lists so they are fresh in my mind when they need to be. If you are one of those people that need gentle nudges to stay on task, I suggest taking advantage of digital reminders.

4. Take advantage of colorful tools

Staying on task can be boring–why not make life a little more exciting and color code your tasks? In college, I used to write down my weekly tasks on loose leaf paper with little check boxes next to them. Then, I’d go through and highlight each check box a different color. Sometimes it was just a list of alternating rainbow colors–it served no real purpose other than to make my task list more enjoyable to look at.

If you are inspired by color, use color with your organizational tools. Get some highlighters, colorful sticky notes, use different colors on digital calendars and task lists, and more.

I’ve personally never gotten into bullet journaling, but I’m pretty certain I would love it just because they are so visually appealing.

5. Create a daily or weekly ritual to check iN

Check In #1: At the beginning of each year, I plot out my goals for the next 12 months. I loosely schedule my goals for each month and start filling in my yearly and monthly calendars.

Check In #2: At the beginning of each month, I outline my events and tasks with confidence and get an idea for what the month will look like.

Check In #3: At the beginning of each week, I outline the tasks I want to complete and the deadlines I need to pay attention to for the next 7 days.

Check In #4: At the beginning of each day, I refer to my lists and start crossing off tasks.

I check in with my planner all the time. Each day, each week, each month, each year. These are my little rituals to make sure I am staying on track. Set time aside for yourself to check in. Whether it’s over coffee each day, or every Sunday evening. Check in often, and make it a habit.

6. Create an order of priority

When I plan out my week, I have a handful of tasks that are high priority/must be completed. I usually highlight those and keep my focus on them until they are complete. Then I have medium priority tasks that are set aside until the first batch is finished. Then low priority, and optional tasks.

When your schedule starts to fill up, it can be really overwhelming to view it as a whole. When you start to separate the priority levels of your tasks, it feels much more manageable. Start with the highest priority and work your way down.

7. Schedule down time

I am the type of person that can do short, intense bursts of work, but then I need time to recharge. Since I know this about myself, I leave empty blocks in my calendar to account for the down time I may need. If I don’t need to rest, then I tackle optional tasks. If I need to slow down, I have the option built in.

Take a look at yourself and the way you work and schedule your time accordingly.

***

I’m not perfect at staying on schedule and completing all of my tasks (for example this blog post was supposed to be finished yesterday…), but all of the tools above help keep me motivated and organized. You are 100% accountable for all of your actions when you are self-employed, and so you have to create a framework to follow. Use your calendar and your reminders to be a substitute for the supervisor you’d normally have telling you what to do with your work day.

I hope this was helpful and gives you a little encouragement to pay more attention to the oh-so-wonderful planner. This system works for me, but everyone does things a little differently. As long as you are working from big goals to small tasks and checking in often, then you’re on the right track.

Please leave questions and comments below while commenting is open or reach out to me directly through Instagram or email. I’d love to hear from you! Make sure to sign up for my email list below to never miss a blog post. New posts are published every Tuesday (…sometimes Wednesday). And if you’d like to see more content like this in the future, consider becoming a Patron of mine! (See details below.)

-Kelly

Do want to help me create more blog content? I want to keep providing content like this for free, but I need your help. If you enjoy my blog posts and gain any inspiration from the content I put out there, please consider becoming a Patron of Messy Ever After on Patreon. Pledging just $1 a month enables me to keep helping artists like you. Plus, you get extra little perks!

Further Reading:

You Don’t Have to Quit Your Day Job


*This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links: I will earn a commission if you make a purchase!

Be an original and do things differently–but limit your risks.

This last week, I took a trip to Minnesota, and on the plane ride from California, I pulled out my Kindle and started reading “Originals” by Adam Grant. I had every intention of reading the entire flight, but I only made it past the first chapter before I was inspired to write this blog post.

I don’t want to talk about the actual book or the concept of”Originals” (though, it’s a good read so far!), but I do want to talk about something Grant said, and how doing something that doesn’t conform with the world around you involves taking risks–but not as many risks as you’d think.

When chasing creative success, a lot of people often have the idea that they need to go big or go home. Commit to the dream or inevitably fail. Grant wrote about notable cases of success over the years that involved original thinkers/non-comformists succeeding while still minimizing risks.

He wrote about well known originals like Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, and the founders of Warby Parker who didn’t abandon their “safe” jobs and life plans to pursue their new concepts until momentum was already building.

Instead of quitting everything and jumping head first into their projects, they balanced both safety and risk until the risk became more stable. You don’t have to be a huge risk taker to be an original. In fact, those who minimize risks can find more success in their fields.

The Ultimate Creative Risk

So let’s talk about the biggest risk a creative person may deal with: Quitting your day job and depending on your creativity to pay the bills.

The desired outcome is to actually have enough money to pay the bills–the risk is having the math not work in your favor. I’ve had a lot of people tell me this is their goal. It’s a great goal to have–but does your day job need to be abandoned in the beginning of your journey? Or can you wait until you make enough progress with your dreams so that you can transition slowly from stable paycheck to dependable entrepreneurship?

Can you make the numbers work?

I love spreadsheets. To me, nothing is more comforting than seeing my life laid out in concrete numbers. I am risk averse. I do what’s safe and I calculate the pros and cons of just about every situation I enter. From career changes to driving in a snow storm. I don’t blindly jump into a situation I know nothing about.

If you are considering quitting your job to chase your creative dreams I want you to look at your life right now. What are your expenses? Do you have a family to take care of? Do you have a mortgage to pay for? Do you need healthcare? All of these things should be addressed before you even consider abandoning that stable paycheck to chase your dreams. It can all feel very overwhelming at first, but look at your expenses. Start calculating what areas you can cut down. Trim away anything that you don’t NEED. Compare your total expenses with your current income and savings.

Can you make the numbers work? Can you minimize the risks in your life?

You DOn’t Have to Do What Everyone Else Does: Make your own plan

I encourage you to make a plan. One of the scariest parts about abandoning your job is figuring out where your next payday will come from, but having a plan decreases risk.

How far along in your creative career are you? Do you have any sources of income that can grow? Include this in your spreadsheet. How many art shows can you do on the weekends? Do you have a savings built up that you can pull from as you progress? Do you have a partner or roommate that you can make a deal with?

Think of all of the possibilities of replacing your day job income and put it on your spreadsheet. How do the numbers look now? Probably still a little scary. Which is why I say: You don’t have to quit your day job.

You don’t have to go big or go home. You don’t have to focus all of your energy on your creativity. You can succeed creatively while still maintaining a sense of safety in your life.

Consider these 4 things before quitting your day job:

1. Balance your energy between creativity and income

When aspiring actors move to LA, they become waiters, bartenders, and fill other service positions. It’s not because they suck at acting or don’t have any other skills, it’s because they are balancing their energy/time output and their need to pay the bills.

If you want to pursue a creative career, how can you find a sense of safety while working on your dreams and still have enough energy to do creative work?

Maybe your current 9-5 job is too exhausting and leaves you with no energy to even think about your dreams when you get home. You don’t have to keep that job. Find something that gives you a paycheck and doesn’t sap your energy. There is no shame in working a service position or part-time gig. The only thing that matters is giving yourself a balance of time, energy, and money to pay the bills.

2. Don’t ask too much of your creativity

I have to point to another book here. “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert. I don’t remember where in the book, and I don’t remember the exact quotes, but Gilbert writes about how unfair it can be to put expectations on your creativity to make money.

How asking so much of it can actually push it away. I can confirm in my own life that the moments where I need to produce something in order to make money are the least enjoyable creative exercises for me. The moments where my creativity wanes and the pressure to produce waxes can feel soul crushing.

Some people thrive under pressure, but many people like me crumble. In order to nurture your creativity, sometimes it’s best to take away the burden to make money. Take the pressure to create away.

If you quit your day job, how much pressure will that add to your creative process? How will that pressure change you and how much you enjoy what you do?

Maybe you will be the person who always has a day job. Maybe your creativity is there just for you. Maybe down the road it will take off and suddenly become your main source of income. There is no wrong way to be a creative person, but if you find that pressure to create makes you miserable and unproductive–then don’t quit your day job. Remove that burden from your creativity.

3. Life informs your Creativity

Another reason why you don’t need to quit your day job is that creativity needs fuel, and life is like gasoline.

If you are a writer, you may have noticed that you need to experience life to really flesh out what you write. Work places expose us to different people, situations, characters, and problems to solve. Sometimes a day job is exactly what we need to inspire and inform our creativity.

Instead of quitting your day job, look at how it can actually fuel you. This is the same for anyone considering quitting school to chase a dream. I may have quit the art program in college, but I shifted my focus to other areas that would still feed my creativity. How can you do the same?

4. Do you just need to rest?

You may be wondering why I’m encouraging you not to quit your day job to pursue a creative career, when I did that exact thing. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but when I quit my last full time job, it wasn’t because I so desperately wanted to just focus on my art. It was because I was deeply, dysfunctionally depressed. I started to have panic attacks at my work desk. I couldn’t focus on simple tasks. I was stressed and unhappy and I simply couldn’t be a productive employee much longer.

I used art as an excuse, but I knew I needed to just stay still for a moment–a week, a month, maybe even a year. I would tell people I was going to focus on art, and in a sense I did, but I didn’t have any real plan to make it a business. I just needed to make myself feel productive while I healed my mind, and so I painted and shared it with the world.

If you have dreams of quitting your job and working on art all day–is it because you are so fired up about your craft and you have a plan to make it into a business? Or, do you just need to rest (or maybe even find a new job)?

Mental health is talked about a lot these days, but not enough. There are so many of us that struggle with daily life. It’s perfectly fine to dream about an escape and to think about doing art all day. It might be exactly what you need. Just do yourself a favor and remove the pressure to make money from it. I can speak from experience that the pressure to make money while healing can just perpetuate the negative health state you’re already in.

If you need a rest, then take one. Truly. Use art as therapy until you feel whole again, and consider finding a new job that isn’t as mentally taxing if you aren’t financially able to take time off.

***

You don’t have to quit your day job in order to succeed as a creative person. Take a look inside of yourself and see what YOU need in order to take care of yourself and your creativity and carve your own path. Day job, side hustle, part time gig, or whatever–just do what’s right for you and take care of your responsibilities.

Please leave questions and comments below while commenting is open or reach out to me directly through Instagram or email. I’d love to hear from you! Make sure to sign up for my email list below to never miss a blog post. New posts are published every Tuesday. And if you’d like to see more content like this in the future, consider becoming a Patron of mine! (See details below.)

-Kelly

Do want to help me create more blog content? I want to keep providing content like this for free, but I need your help. If you enjoy my blog posts and gain any inspiration from the content I put out there, please consider becoming a Patron of Messy Ever After on Patreon. Pledging just $1 a month enables me to keep helping artists like you. Plus, you get extra little perks!

Further Reading: